Oakland Athletics (73-49) at Atlanta Braves (62-60), 7:10 p.m. (ET)
08/16/2014 10:03 AM
08/16/2014 10:05 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of talented but struggling hurlers square off on Saturday night when the Oakland Athletics and Atlanta Braves resume their three-game set at Turner Field.
Oakland's Sonny Gray and Julio Teheran of Atlanta both come into this contest having lost three straight outings. Their respective skids represent a bump in the road of what has otherwise been solid seasons for the talented right- handers.
For Gray, he has pitched well enough to win twice over his slide, which comes after he won six straight decisions.
The 24-year-old struggled on Aug. 6 versus Tampa Bay, giving up six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings, but bounced back with seven innings of solid work versus Kansas City on Monday. However, Gray lost a 3-2 decision and gave up all three runs, two of which were earned.
"Two good teams going at it, it's always going to be one mistake. Unfortunately for us, I'm the one that made that mistake tonight," said Gray, who is 12-6 with a 2.86 earned run average on the year.
Teheran hasn't been as solid over his three losses, giving up 11 of his 13 runs allowed over that span in his past two starts. He was charged with five runs over 7 1/3 innings of a 6-2 setback to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.
The 23-year-old, though, took a shutout into the fifth inning before things came undone and he fell to 10-9 with a 3.06 ERA on the year. He allowed nine hits and walked two in the setback.
"I thought [Teheran] pitched better than what his line showed," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told his club's website. "People are going to wake up tomorrow morning, look at the box score and say, 'Julio got beat up pretty good.' But I didn't see that."
Both Teheran and Gray will be facing their respective opponent for the first time.
The Braves hit four home runs in Friday's opener to secure a much-needed 7-2 win. They had lost 12 of 15 coming in, putting them six games behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East.
But Atlanta put those struggles in the past for one night as Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer, Phil Gosselin hit the first home run of his career -- a two-run shot -- and both Justin Upton and Evan Gattis also went deep.
"We know every win counts," said Upton afterward. "It doesn't matter who it's against at this point. We've just got to go out there and get as many wins as we can at this point."
Alex Wood allowed a two-run homer to Nate Freiman but only three other hits over six innings to win his second straight start.
Counterpart Jason Hammel lasted only three-plus innings for Oakland, with the right-hander surrendering five runs on six hits -- three of which left the park.
"I can't worry about what the hitters are going to do," said Hammel about his recent lack of run support. "I've got to do my job. My job is to prevent runs. If I'm worried about how many runs I get to work with, I'm going to be in trouble."
Derek Norris went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the A's, who have now lost five of six and saw their lead for first place in the AL West over the Los Angeles Angels fall to one game.
These two teams are meeting for the first time since the Braves took two out of three in Atlanta during the 2008 season.